As our program has grown, we have engaged teaching artists and alumni from the CSUSB MFA program as well as from other majors throughout the Department of Art and in and out of the University, including students in Psychology, English, and Criminal Justice.


Our training consists of a combination of college courses, in-depth training, and mentorship on site. Experienced teaching artists support newer teaching artists in an apprenticeship model. In addition, experienced faculty and staff mentor teaching artists in curriculum development and methods for facilitating classes.


The PAC is dedicated to supporting the next generation of teaching artists both in and out of prison to expand access to the arts in correctional and community settings. We held our first Teaching Training in September 2016 at CSUSB and more than 30 teaching artists, interns, and volunteers attended. Since then, we have offered the PAC teacher training at CSUSB, CSUN, and CSU Fresno.


Our comprehensive teaching manual shares our collaborative planning and teaching methodology, the specific needs and requirements of teaching in correctional settings, facts about the justice system, and support for engaging learners in the arts.


This innovative collaboration provides leadership opportunities for our participants. We pair an incarcerated participant with art experience with a teaching artist to co-facilitate a class. For incarcerated participants that have experience in the arts, this provides a unique opportunity to co-teach a class with an artist from the outside, whether a student or practicing artist. For our teaching artists, this provides an equally unique opportunity to co-teach in a correctional institution with someone that is incarcerated there.


The Peer Leaders led to the development of our Arts Facilitator Training, which is an extensive 6-month training and apprenticeship for incarcerated artists to become facilitators. For those that are incarcerated, this longer training offers university-level content in the arts and education, space for shared dialogue and reflection, and opportunities to develop and practice teaching skills. At the culmination of the training, peer facilitators develop and lead a multidisciplinary art program at the prison with PAC mentorship.

Photos by Peter Merts

For more information on training, please download our pamphlet

About Us

The Prison Arts Collective works to expand access to the transformative power of the arts through collaboration and mutual learning that supports the development of self-expression, reflection, communication, and empathy through providing multidisciplinary arts programming in correctional institutions.

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